As moral agents, we are held responsible (whether by others or by our own conscience) for the actions we do and do not take due to the concept that we had/have a moral responsibility. The response to our actions is generally one of either praise or blame.
Furthermore, we as humans are the only species that are held responsible for our actions and inactions due to the fact that we have control over ourselves in a way that other animals do not.
Sometimes one’s actions can be excused due to the theory of fatalism, which is the view that one’s future, or some aspect of it is predetermined by the gods, or the stars- which in turn makes a person’s choices irrelevant.
If we assume fatalism to be true, then no moral agent could be held responsible for their choices or actions because the end result would always turn out the same- it was fate.
Aristotle argues that a moral agent is only worthy of praise or blame when they have voluntarily made the decision. A voluntary decision to Aristotle has 2 distinctive features: a control condition, and a epistemic condition.
The control condition states that the moral agent must willfully make the decision; they should not be forced to make it.
The Epistemic condition states that the moral agent must know what it is that they are doing.
If these conditions are followed, the moral agent has warranted whatever the response they receive. (praise or blame)
The merit-based view, according to which praise or blame would be an appropriate reaction toward the moral agent only if they deserve it
The consequentialist view, says praise or blame would be appropriate only if a reaction of this sort would likely lead to a desired change in the agent and their behavior.
P.F. Strawson believes that both the merit and consequentialist views are wrong. He believes we assign these views with the assumption that we reserve the right to pin praise or blame to the moral agent, when in fact, we are just justifying our own reactive attitude toward the choice made.
Reactive attitudes hold people responsible for their choices, and P.F. Strawson argues that “judgments are true or false and thereby can generate the need for justification, the desire for good will and those attitudes generated by it possess no truth value themselves, thereby eliminating any need for an external justification.”

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